Disconnect from the outer world and look inwards to connect with the Divine, says yogacharya SURAKSHIT GOSWAMI
he mind is constantly influenced by sukha and dukha. Sukha or happiness comes from love or attachment and dukha or suffering emerges from hatred. Hence, the wandering mind gets stuck between joy and sorrow and between objects of desire. But, when the mind begins to look inward through meditation and is self-aware, it leads to liberation. Meditation anchors the mind and reduces unstable thoughts. In the Bhagwad Gita (chapter 6, verses 5-6), Krishna says, “One must elevate and not degrade oneself by one’s own mind. The mind alone is one’s friend as well as one’s enemy. The mind is the friend of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it.”
Meditation is a mind-body approach for overall health and allows access to your innermost Self, helping you find absolute tranquillity. But the fickle mind finds it difficult to remain anchored. Usually, our mind is never where the body is; it keeps wandering on its own. But that is its basic nature. When it is under control, it can become one of the most powerful tools that can transform your life.
Meditation happens when there is stilling (in the sense of continual and vigilant watchfulness) of the movement of thought — without expression or suppression — in the indivisible intelligence in which there is no movement. When you are in a state of deep meditation, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappear — yoga-chitta-vritti-nirodha. For finding our true Self or drashtu entails insight into our own nature — tadadrastuhsvarupe — vasthnam.
When you detach yourself from your ego, it’s the beginning of meditation. Meditation is awareness — awareness of your body, mind, and prana; when this awareness is maintained for a longer period of time, you enter the state of samadhi. You are in meditation when you are detached from illusion, and one with the Supreme Being. Bliss is within us. You just have to be aware of your own feelings and emotions. When meditation is at a deeper level, you feel at peace with yourself, there is a feeling of love and tenderness for all.
The more we become aware, the more we are able to detach ourselves from our thoughts, the more we are able to love others. Through meditation, you can discipline yourself to disconnect from the outer world and look inward and connect yourself with the Divine.
The mind doesn’t have power of its own. It thrives on prana, the vital energy or life force. When the mind is weak, it becomes a wanderer seeking solace in different thoughts. But when it is stronger, it concentrates on a single thought and is in a state of flow. The mind is weak when the prana is weak. If we make the prana stronger, we can concentrate better. In Patanjali’sAshtanga Yoga, pranayama comes before meditation. After pranayama, the mind is calm and centred.
Prepare for meditation by practising anulomvilom pranayama at least 11 times followed by chanting of Aum mantra. The best time to meditate is brahma muhurta at dawn as sattvaguna is prominent during this hour. The pranatattva or life force is also highest in the morning. When your body’s rhythm merges with nature’s rhythm, you get into a state of dhyana. Meditation is not something that can be done, but it happens. Don’t fight with your thoughts — when you meditate, just be aware and detach yourself. Let thoughts flow during meditation. Just observe them. Slowly detach yourself from them. Know yourself; know what’s in your mind. When we are aware of our thoughts, we can detach ourselves from it. When meditation is at a deeper level, you feel at peace with yourself.